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The Brigand of Eboli.


Who that has ever been in the Campagna Fèlice, and at Naples, can forget that clime of sunshine and festivity, and the Tarantella or national dance, which is the principal feature of every Neapolitan festival? Who, that has attended at the festa of Piede-di Grotto, of La Madonna del Monte, or any one of the great annual festivals, to be taken to which by their husbands, has been from time immemorial, one of the few stipulations in the simple marriage contract of the Neapolitan peasantry; who that has seen them making the journey, whatever may be its length, to and from the church or the mountain shrine, a continuous dance, and has heard their shrill, joyous voices, accompanying as they bound along, the music of the tamborino, and the motion of their elastic feet—but will recognise at a glance the characteristic fidelity of Montvoisin's picture of the Tarantella. To myself it recalls with the force of reality a scene long familiar to me, and by-gone days hallowed by a thousand recollections and endearing connexions: as I look upon the buoyant figure of the maiden, and at the kneeling swain at her feet, I almost hear the Sei bella sei buona, sei tutt' amorosa, one of the common burthens of the Tarantella song. I catch the happy love-whispers from the reposing couples behind,—I breathe the perfumed air of the sunny south, and feel again the genial warmth and brilliant light of the sun of Naples upon me, and about me. I follow the festive figures in imagination, as I have often done in reality similar groups on a bright summer evening by the enchanting routes of Portici, Poggio Reale, Posilippo, or away to Pozuoli. I, loitering on horse-back by the road's side, whilst they danced along the middle of it, couple after couple, or trio after trio, in unceasing succession, as though fatigue were a feeling, a stranger to their joyous natures. And imagination can realise memory, and renew the pleasures that I used often to experience when riding homeward from the festive scene : the hearty peals of laughter, and the Bacchanalian shout, the tones of the tambour and the choral song, all softened and harmonized by distance, come to my ear with the evening breeze, so luxuriantly refreshing after a summer's day; when the broad silver moon rose over the blue waves of the calm, hushed bay, and the lucciole,

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